Following an abrupt coaching change in the middle of last year’s wrestling season, Kyle Borshoff suddenly found himself at the helm of the Binghamton University wrestling program. Borshoff had assistant coaching experience at BU and American University beforehand, but had never held a head coaching position. It was a test he was thrust into almost instantaneously.
Fifteen months later, the BU wrestling team completed its most successful season in several years. The team has gone 19-8 in dual competition since Borshoff took over the program, including a 10-3 record in the 2018-19 season. The Bearcats finished off this year’s campaign on a 10-meet winning streak, sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships and placed sixth at the EIWA Championships, a program record. In recognition of his success, Borshoff has been named Pipe Dream’s Coach of the Year for the 2018-19 school year.
“We didn’t really know what to expect coming into the season,” Borshoff said on Pipe Dream’s Bearcast. “We started out with an extremely challenging schedule. We had a couple of injuries early on that didn’t help with that challenging schedule. Then, our guys started to get healthy, they started to get a little more confident. Getting matches under your belt as a Division I wrestler is extremely important.”
Borshoff, only nine years removed from his own days as a college wrestler, has extensive family ties both to the University and to the sport. His father Tim, ’76, is a Binghamton Hall of Famer, while Borshoff himself was a member of the wrestling team at American University. His brother, Jasen, currently serves under him as associate head coach.
“My mom was the one that got us into the sport, but once we were in, then my dad made the decision that, if we were doing it, he wasn’t going to let us fail at it,” Borshoff said.
However, Borshoff found success almost everywhere he went. He was a three-time NCAA qualifier in his college days and helped numerous wrestlers reach that same lofty goal at the end of the season as a coach. The four Bearcats who qualified for the NCAAs in 2019 was the most since 2013.
Of the four BU wrestlers to qualify for the NCAAs, two of them were redshirt freshmen. One of those freshmen, Lou DePrez, was arguably the best wrestler on the team this season. DePrez went 33-7 overall on the season, including 11-0 in dual matches. He finished in third place at the EIWA Championships and advanced as far as the second day of the NCAA Championships, where he went 3-2.
“Lou’s an outstanding wrestler,” Borshoff said. “Lou’s always been an amazing individual … The guy who took second in the country this year, Lou beat. If that tells you anything, it tells you he’s right there in the conversation — not only as an All-American, but as a potential national champion, and I know that’s his goal.”
The other redshirt freshman to qualify, Zack Trampe, finished fourth at the EIWAs and went 16-6 over the course of the season. Junior Anthony Sparacio and redshirt senior Vincent DePrez, Lou’s brother, rounded out the NCAA qualifiers. Sparacio posted 12 consecutive dual victories as part of 28 total triumphs on the season en route to his NCAA berth, while V. DePrez garnered 50 team points and an 11-0 dual record.
Coming off an impressive season such as this one, and with so much of that success coming from young freshman talent that will be around for the next few years, it is widely expected that the wrestling program at Binghamton, behind Borshoff’s leadership, has some good years to look forward to. Borshoff, for his part, has lofty goals for this program.
“We want to have All-Americans, we want to have national champions, we want to be a top-20 program in the country regularly,” Borshoff said. “I think we can do that — I think we can accomplish those goals. I want to continue to win dual meets, I want to beat a top-10 team. We’re going to have a few opportunities to do that next year. I don’t know if the team is at that point right now, [but] we’re going to find out soon.”
On the latest episode of Pipe Dream’s Bearcast podcast, the sports editors sat down with Borshoff. Listen to the full episode here.